Dr. Paloma Giangrande, Professor of Hematology, Oncology, and Blood & Marrow Transplantation, has been awarded a two-year, $559k grant from the Department of Defense to study potential treatments for certain instances of blunt chest traumas. In some cases, two resulting syndromes—multiorgan dysfunction (MODS) and acute respiratory distress (ARDS)—produce toxic extracellular histones, which contribute to patients’ high morbidity and mortality rates. Previously developed RNA aptamers have been shown to bind to and neutralize their effects.
Dr. Giangrande and her team of researchers will first evaluate the efficacy of these bio-drugs in preventing histone-mediated cell injury in cultures. Second, they will evaluate their efficacy in animal models of MODS and severe trauma, in addition to their safety in immune-competent mice. A successful outcome of the proposed work, Dr. Giangrande says, could result in novel RNA bio-drugs to be delivered via intravenous injection or even inhalation on the battlefield or in the ICU to patients with chest injuries, at the first indication the patient was at high risk of MODS/ARDS. Congratulations to Dr. Giangrande on this grant win!